Addressing a Blind Spot of Alignment

Leaders know the importance of articulating the vision, mission, and goals and aligning everyone to them. There’s another important matter to determine and align to, but it’s sometimes missed.

A couple of months ago, the most senior leaders of a 150-person organization took my course The Executive’s Guide to the Agile Mindset. Two messages from the course resonated particularly strongly with them:

One: value delivery involves more than Agile teams and specialized functions; it occurs in a system. Their organization has four such systems.

Two: a system’s way of working is based on values (what it’s optimized for) and beliefs (the most impactful assumptions about people and work). They exist in every organization and system, but in most, they are implicit and not necessarily best fit for purpose.

The leaders realized that by being intentional and explicit about their values and beliefs — deciding together what they want their systems to optimize for and why — they can level up their culture and results.

I’ve visited them to facilitate a two-hour Organizational Mindset workshop to achieve exactly that. We focused on the biggest system, which delivers digital-but-not-only services and products to their two categories of customers. The team articulated and discussed many perspectives, concerns, and opinions. They came away with five values and a half-page of beliefs that they felt good about adhering to and aligning the staff to.

This workshop always has additional effects: strengthening relationships among the senior leaders and increasing their sense of joint responsibility. This was amplified by conducting it in person — no hybrid/online. I had strongly recommended they all come in because of the significance of the topic.

In the next few months, they’ll upgrade their way of working to better fit those values and beliefs. I look forward to seeing how it evolves.

Is your organization’s leadership clear and consistent about what they’re optimizing for in pursuit of the vision and goals? If not quite, that’s a matter worth addressing. Let’s talk.


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